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Saturday, May 11, 2002 ; Page B08
Jehovah's Witnesses who publicly criticized their denomination's handling of sexual abuse allegations say it has started the process of ousting them.
A former elder, a forme r r esearcher in the Jehovah's Witnesses' headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the parents of a girl who was abused say they were summoned to meetings with local judicial committees.
J.R. Brown, a national spokesman for the Jehovah's Witnesses, confirmed that the four had been called to the hearings, but he said the proceedings may focus on "sins" unrelated to public comments on sexual abuse. He provide no specifics.
The judicial committees will decide whether the four should be "disfellowshipped," the group's term for excommunication.
William Bowen, the former Kentucky elder, resigned about 18 months ago to protest the denomination's response to child molestation. Bowen has been accused of apostasy and plans to meet with a judicial committee this month.
The others summoned were forme r r esearcher Barbara Anderson of Tennessee and Carl and Barbara Pandello of New Jersey , whose 12-year-old daughter allegedly was molested by her grandfather, a Jehovah's Witness.
The Pandellos have already had their meeting, but no decision has been released.
-- Associated Press